Laurel’s Perfect Manhattan

Perfect Manhattan

I have shared a Manhattan recipe before, and it’s a great recipe.  But it is also a few years old, and as I’ve aged, my tastes and understanding of cocktails have changed.  In general, I now tend to prefer cocktails that are less sweet.  The “perfect” Manhattan reflects that.  The perfect Manhattan replaces half of the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth.  It’s a simple substitution, but it makes the difference between a cocktail that coats your mouth, and one that’s easy to sip without feeling icky.

Perfect Manhattan

Perfect Manhattan (makes 2)


  • 6 booze soaked cherries
  • 1/2 oz cherry-soaked whiskey (or whatever your cherries are packed in)
  • 4 oz rye, bourbon or other American whiskey (I prefer rye, Craig prefers Jack Daniels)
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1  oz dry vermouth
  • 4-6 dashes bitters
  • Ice cubes


  • Get out 2 coupe, rocks, or martini glasses
  • Prepare your garnish. Spear 3 cherries on a cocktail stick.  Place them into your glasses and set aside.
  • Start building your cocktail in a sturdy glass.  Combine the cherry liquid, whiskey, vermouths, and bitters in the glass. If I’m cooking around making cocktails, this step often takes a few minutes, making adding the ice at the end especially important.
  • Add ice until the level of the ice reaches just past the top of the liquid.
  • Stir.  If you have one of those fancy cocktail spoons, use that (I have been meaning to add one to my amazon cart for quite some time.)
  • The goal with the stirring is to make the liquor mixture cold.  Once it feels very cold on the outside of the glass, pop a hawthorne strainer on your glass and strain the Manhattan into your prepared glasses.
  • Enjoy.


This recipe is so easy to scale.  It’s essentially 2 parts whiskey, .5 parts each sweet and dry vermouth, and a couple dashes of bitters, plus some cherries.

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